It may seem like just yesterday your child was born, and you were counting their tiny fingers and toes. But now they’ve grown up so fast, ready to start preschool, and you may wonder where the time has gone. Trust me, you’re not alone. It might seem so soon, but if your child will be three- or four-years-old after August 31, now is the best time to begin enrolling your preschooler into Sound to Harbor Early Learning Programs Head-Start and ECEAP classes. Head Start and ECEAP programs are federally and state funded programs that provide free preschool to children whose families meet certain financial eligibility criteria.
Students that participate in Sound to Harbor’s preschool programs find their days are filled with fun and games. Play is an important component of early childhood learning and Sound to Harbor educational professionals encourage indoor and outdoor play every day. From gross motor skills and hand eye coordination, to language, math concepts and social skills, preschool students have so much fun learning.
Sound to Harbor educators use studies to structure student learning. Each study lasts from two weeks, to as long as two months, depending on student interest. Studies are built around different things or ideas, and they form the framework for learning many different subjects from math and science to music and art.
One study from the past school year covered buildings. The study began with several students showing interest in building with blocks. Students learned about different shapes that make up buildings. From there, the students learned about different types of building materials and made buildings of their own out of cardboard boxes. They read the Three Little Pigs together. For art, they recreated famous buildings. Finally, the study concluded with a field trip to the state legislative building, where students found shapes in the great stone building and counted stairs up to the door.
Besides studies, math curriculum and math kits supplement student learning. Math learning in early preschool is a lot more fun than you might expect. Students spend their time surrounded by toys and learning aids that promote opportunities for learning in math, and other foundational subjects. They are guided in activities, games and songs, which make math learning fun. Teachers facilitate the fun math learning and help students build their vocabulary with words and phrases like symmetry, greater than and less than.
Kindergarten readiness isn’t just a focus on reading, writing and arithmetic. Social and emotional growth are important too. Helping children learn to understand feelings and work and play with other children can go a long way, not just in kindergarten, but throughout their school years. Sharing, social interactions and managing conflict are addressed as they occur, but are also built into learning during circle time with songs and stories.
Sound to Harbor Early Learning Programs also put a focus on whole family involvement. The involvement is not just limited to learning either. Whole family success is important to Sound to Harbor, says Caitlyn Ishikawa, family community coordinator. She and Linda Allen train Sound to Harbor’s family advocates to work with families to set long term goals, a component of Mobility Mentoring.
Another part of Sound to Harbor’s holistic approach is a comprehensive health program. Student nutrition and fitness are encouraged, not just with healthy meals and outdoor play time, but through fun learning that encourages children to make healthy choices themselves. Hearing and vision checks are built into the school year to identify concerns which might prevent students from fully participating in classroom learning so they might be corrected or accommodated. Sound to Harbor team members are also there to support families by helping them find and navigate complex social services that they qualify for.
As children grow, so quickly passing from infants to toddlers, it’s often a shock to realize that they are ready for preschool. But helping children begin those next phases of life, and giving them the best opportunity to succeed is what parenting is all about. Sound to Harbor Early Learning programs offer high-quality preschool that supports children’s emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs. Ensuring every child is given the care and support they need to succeed is their goal.
Sound to Harbor Early Learning Programs Centers are available across Thurston, Mason, and Grays Harbor counties. Enrollment is accepted year-round, many classrooms fill up, so early enrollment is highly encouraged. Many classrooms offer transportation to and from school as an added benefit. If you would like to enroll your child for preschool, simply complete the online pre-enrollment form. If you have questions, call Sound to Harbor Early Learning Programs at 360-464-6800.